I am totally guilty of being a perfectionist. If I can't do something perfectly, I'd almost rather not do it at all. From canceling my horseback lessons because I'm on a difficult horse, to avoiding projects I'm unsure how to do, I'm really bad about trying to avoid failure.Newsflash: No one's perfect and you will never learn from your mistakes if you don't let yourself make them.
Trying to avoid failure has ultimately led to me failing myself. I'm denying myself opportunities to grow and further my future. I'm putting an immense amount of pressure on myself to be something no one on this earth is capable of being: completely and utterly perfect. And that is where the copious amounts of stress come from, not from failing. I stress over my need to execute everything perfectly more than I stress over my actual failures.
If I never try new things because I'm afraid to fail, how will I ever know what else I'm good at? How will I ever know what I'm truly meant to be doing? How will I learn about myself if I don't fail?
Failing is only a problem if you let it define you. Don't just sit back and accept failure. Take a step back, evaluate how you got there, and figure out what you can do differently next time. Failure is subjective. Is it really failing if you learn from it? Looking at failure as a detour instead of a roadblock can help redefine how you view your mistakes.
We can't control the outcome of our hard work. But you can better prepare yourself for the possibility that things might not go your way. And that's okay because maybe that wasn't “your way" in the first place.
I know the feeling of getting back a bad test grade or having something you worked hard on fall short of expectations. I know how hard perfectionists are on themselves. And I know how hard it is to take a deep breath and just think “everything happens for a reason".
But it's true.
I'm working on helping myself by using my failures as motivation to get it better the next time. I'm working on accepting my mistakes as learning experiences, not something that ruins my whole plan for my future. And I'm working on allowing myself to make mistakes period. And this will be what gets me closer to my future goals, not trying to avoid failure completely.